Thursday, March 23, 2017

New York Times Highlights Advertising War over Border Adjustment Tax

Today's New York Times puts a spotlight on the energetic effort to persuade 435 Americans to stay away from the Border Adjustment Tax, and secondarily, persuade you the public.   The article shows one pro-BAT commercial that continues to propagate the urban myth that jobs are leaving the country because of taxes.  The article, however, also highlights three anti-BAT commercials, two of which you may have already seen.  Here's the Internet-only one:

I think it's so interesting how issues like the BAT are further eroding the Republican brand and splitting the base. Forcing the business community to break into opposing camps and fight each other isn't helping Republicans get their work done. The Republicans did this to themselves, and find themselves on a sinking ship of their own construction.

You need only look at the challenge of repealing and replacing Obamacare for the lesson of Republican lack of vision. Paul Ryan pulled the plug on a vote for today, and is talking about a vote tomorrow. We'll see if he pulls a rabbit out of the hat (don't hold your breath). Big confidence builder. The failure to move the TrumpCare bill is more than a failure to keep a promise.  It is also a huge failure of Trump as "dealmaker" and Ryan as party and House leader. It does not bode well for them crafting majorities for legislation to follow.  Good for us.  Gridlock looks better and better.

Please understand that this reflects a choice made by the Republicans. their deal with the devil. They basically burned their bridges behind them, and decided to govern without making any effort, ANY effort, to gain Democratic support for anything.  Perhaps Trump's strategy of calling Chuck Schumer "head clown" wasn't so smart.  So the Republicans must now go it alone, and that has consequences.  If you can't hold your team together, you get nothing done.

And they seem to have a dysfunctional coalition in the House. Trump and Ryan have yet to find a way to unify conservative and moderate Republicans even on Obamacare, their key issue.  For every conservative vote they gain, they lose a moderate. With a President sinking in popularity (such as it is for someone with approval ratings under 40% after just two months on the job) and uninspiring leadership in the House, House Republicans have little incentive to line up behind . . . anyone.  And the Democrats are further encouraged to become extreme and ultra-uncooperative. See the promise to filibuster Neil Gorsuch as Supreme Court nominee.

For those of us at risk of extinction under the Brady Plan, nothing could be more delightful than Republican disarray.  As I have explained before, tax reform must come after healthcare reform because the Republicans must now take all action by reconciliation.  Given the sharp political risks to Republicans who line up behind Trump or Ryan, tax reform hangs in the balance.  We will continue to stoke the fire until it's too hot to handle.

We will do what we must to stay alive.

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